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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

8-9 February 1872

8-9 February 1872

On the 8th Feb Dunny and I sailed in the “Golden Crown” for the Thames. We left next day by the “Effort” P.S. to Ohinesura – the Captain was a free and easy pleasant man. I was recognised as usual on board as usual. We had a little race with the “Fairy”. Dunny would like me to have gone in her but she had Maoris on board and was an open boat. We landed about 9 at night but 2 ½ miles away from any accommodation. The Captain borrowed 2 horses for us, but when we got to a creek, we could not get the horses through. Darkness came on and we got a Maori to help. We managed to cross the creek thro’ a willow bush and on a stick, which was rather like getting a ducking. Dunny was carried across. On sitting down to recover a little from our fatigue, we hear and feel the mosquitoes and beg the Maori to guide us thro’ this wilderness of swamp to our accommodation house.

It was a curious sight – as wended our way by the pale moonlight, led by a savage through this 2 ½ page 54 miles of semi-tropical vegetation. Well is it that wild beasts are unknown in New Zealand, or we surely stood a good chance to be victims. There was only one house at the place to which we were taken, and we were saluted by some Maroi girls and women who came out laughing as they always do – “Tenakua” Ah! Pakeha” ‘Haipi Piccaniny” Ah” – “How do you do? Ah! English gentlemen! Good, and the Boy! Ah! We were taken to a little room and shewn our beds! The best room was given up by Mr who had ridden over the pass from Kati Kati to which we were going. Our guide was then dismissed with 2/- and his “Pint o’bea”, upon which the women claimed a “pint o’bea”, and came up and examined everything about us; - and after we had eaten, they, in the most free and easy way, sat close up, (too close for ensuring us freedom from insects) and laughed in our faces. We then held a conversation with them on various matters, ever and anon filling their pipes afresh – for girls and boys smoke among the Maoris. These were tattooed, and were not handsome but there is a fire in the eye when they get excited which is telling. We bespoke guides for the morning, but were told that Louis D’Heke, a Frenchman was to be our guide. He was a good conductor, but was in league with the Maoris here who were stopping the completion of the Telegraph.